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Albert Haynesworth Interview Transcript
(On how things are going)
AH: It's been alright. I'm still getting my legs back. It's been a long time since I've been on the field, so I'm still trying to get that feel out there.
Q: Do you see this as a fresh start for you?
AH: Yeah, of course. It's a new team, it's a great organization. I have been a fan of this team for a long time, you know, other than when I was playing them, but I always liked the Patriots.
Q: How much of an adjustment will it be from Washington's system to what they do here?
AH: It's somewhat of an adjustment from what I was doing for the last two years, but it's kind of getting back to things I normally used to do. So I just have to get my legs wet again and then I'll be okay.
Q: What have they talked to you about what your role is going to be on this team?
AH: I don't know, just to kill the quarterback.
Q: How did you find out you had been traded and did you expect your days in Washington might be coming to an end?
AH: I woke up to a text [at] 6:30 from my agent that said that we're going to New England.
Q: What was your first reaction?
AH: Hell yeah.
Q: You said you were a fan of this organization. Why?
AH: I always liked Coach [Bill] Belichick, just the way he did things, the way the team performed. I've come to games when I was in the pros. I came, I think it was here, when they played the AFC Championship, I want to say they were playing San Diego, and I was sitting up in the stands freezing my butt off. I sat there and watched them play. I've always been a fan of this team.
Q: When you were a free agent a couple of years ago, was there anything close to coming here?
AH: I've talked to my agent about it and we loved the fact, but they didn't think the numbers we were trying to get after, that they would have it.
Q: How much of a fresh start do you consider this in New England?
AH: It's a great chance. It's a great chance to be on a great team. It's a chance to restore my name or whatever you want to say. It's a great chance to get back on the field and play football.
Q: What conversations did you have with Coach Belichick or the Patriots about some things in your past? Did you have to convince him of certain things?
AH: Everything is in the past. I'm leaving all that stuff back in Washington. Right now, I'm just concentrating on being just a great player for this organization. (On the prospect of lining up next to Vince Wilfork)
AH: That's going to be scary. It's going to be scary for other teams.
Q: Did you have to buy Tom Brady dinner? The last time you saw him on a football field you cracked some ribs.
AH: Yeah, you know what? The first thing, I said ‘Hey Tom, what's up?' And he was like, ‘Hey, you're not going to be hitting me anymore,' So it's kind of funny.
Q: Did you know anyone on this team beforehand?
AH: Yeah, I went to the Pro Bowl with Vince [Wilfork]. And the funny thing is, when were at the Pro Bowl, I said ‘Man, what if we were on the same team?' And he said ‘Oh dude, that would be crazy.' He said, ‘No way that's going to happen.' But shoot, two, three years later, here we are.
Q: When you say ‘restore your name,' what do you mean by that?
AH: Just, you know, to show that Albert Haynesworth can still play football. That's how I got a name I guess, other than my family gave it to me. That's what everybody knows me as, ‘Haynesworth,' so show everybody that I can play football.
Q: Do you feel like you're in pretty good shape?
AH:Yeah, yeah I feel alright. I'm still rusty. Last year I didn't play hardly any and now I'm getting a role to where I get to play, so I have to definitely get my legs back under me.
( On being willing to play in a 3-4)
AH: I'm willing to attack the quarterback and kill the running back and you know, knock everything back.
Q: So you're willing to play two-gap?
AH: I don't care what it is. As long as whatever gap the ball is in, that's the gap I want to be in.
Q: One of the knocks on you is that you've been inconsistent. Is that fair?
AH: I mean, I don't expect to make every play and I hope any coach or anything isn't going to think I'm going to make every play. What you guys say is what you all say, but I listen to the coaches and what they say.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a high motor player?
AH: High motor? A high motor player is like Kyle Vanden Bosch, you know, guys that just run around nonstop like they've got batteries up their behind. That's not me.
Q: What do you respect the most about Bill Belichick and getting the chance to play for him?
AH: From being outside, I don't know, just the way I guess he handled the team and everything. Now being on the inside, he's very detail oriented and he demands perfection every time. I've been on some really good teams, with a lot of great players, but I've never been in a situation where it's like, you know, perfection every time, not for a person but for the team.
Q: How much is that going to push you and motivate you?
AH: It's going to be awesome. I enjoy being here. It's a refresher and I love it and it kind of revived me, playing football again.
Q: I imagine it's been a whirlwind for you the past few days. What's been the most surprising thing about the process?
AH: Just being here, the way everybody takes me in like I'm just part of the family already. I met with Coach [Belichick] and we had a great conversation. I met with Mr. [Robert] Kraft, we had a great conversation, and Pep [Pepper Johnson]. Everything's been great you know, the players, even some of the fans I ran into – everybody here, it's been awesome.
Q: Were you surprised by the reaction of the fans?
AH: My best friend, he lives here. I've been up here a bunch of times secretly, so I knew kind of how people were here. I remember that one time, I guess I was in Tennessee and I hit Tom [Brady] – I guess it was in the preseason game and landed on his shoulder or something. I got a lot of angry texts from 508 numbers up here. So, I knew everybody was cool and they loved their team.
Q: How do you go anywhere secretly at your size?
AH: I've got a wig and some shades.
Q: You mentioned not playing a lot last year in Washington, who's to blame for that?
AH: It was just the way they had it, the way they wanted to play. No deal to me. I knew I could still play, so I got a chance to come here and play football. They're going to put me on the field here and they're going to let me play and it's going to be fun.
Q: So despite what you've accomplished before, do you have something to prove still?
AH: No, no, forget about that stuff; it's all in the past. It's all about now – rewriting my name as Albert Haynesworth the Patriot.
Q: How much responsibility do you take for some of the things that went wrong in Washington?
AH: Well, I mean, it's all got my name on it. I mean, it's just whatever. I'm just going to leave that in the past, leave that in Washington and have a fresh, new, clean start here in New England.
Q: How much did you pay for the tickets to that playoff game here?
AH: You know, Rodney Harrison gave them to me, actually. I might still owe him something, I don't know. He hasn't hit me up. I called him a couple days before to see if I could get them.
Q: But he had you way up top?
AH: Yeah I know, that's not right. But they said the family section was kind of up there or whatever. I can't remember where we were sitting, but we watched the team come in, they were right below us as they came in for the start of the game. I can't tell you where that is in the stadium. It was up there, but I still got a good seat.
Q: What do you say to people who say they shouldn't touch you or put you on their team because of your off-field issues? Have you changed?
AH: Hey, I don't have to worry about that anymore because I'm a New England Patriot.